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Cum Laude Society Inducts 21 Top St. Margaret’s Students

14 May 2010 admin 3,439 views No Comment Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

cumlaude2Last month, seven juniors and 14 seniors were inducted into the Cum Laude Society, an international honors organization for which only a small percentage of high school juniors and seniors are qualified. To be eligible, juniors must rank in the top 10 percent of their class, and seniors must rank in the top 20 percent of their class. In addition, each inductee must be approved by the Cum Laude committee, consisting of school faculty and administrators who evaluate whether they strive for perfection in their coursework and set high academic standards among their peers.

In addition, each Cum Laude chapter school has been carefully evaluated for its academic rigor, especially the academic strength of the top 20 percent of the senior class in its college-preparatory curriculum. St. Margaret’s is one of only 370 chapters throughout the world, and the only Cum Laude school in Orange County. St. Margaret’s became a Cum Laude school in 1986. These 21 students are now part of St. Margaret’s longstanding tradition of academic honors.

Headmaster Marcus D. Hurlbut, Chapter President Carol Ann Ingalls and Chapter Secretary Robert R. Parker inducted these 21 new members into the society in a ceremony in the Chapel on April 29, 2010.”

Grade 12 Inductees:

· Justin Cheng

· Jonathan Dreyer

· Alexander Fragapane

· Melanie Hess

· Wade Holmes

· Hanna Hurr

· Kasey Jong

· Marisa Jue

· Patricia Kharazmi

· Kevin Liu

· Christina Massrey

· Kiyana Salkeld

· James Travis

· Will Travis

Grade 11 Inductees:

· Jonathan Li

· Anna McGregor

· Kristin Murray

· Cameron Price

· Emma Rice

· Shirin Sadri

· Jared Schoeffel

Four current seniors were inducted into the Cum Laude society in 2009, as juniors:

· Brian Chang

· Rebecca Miller

· Andrew Pak

· Farida Valji

Mrs. Carol Ann Ingalls, Chapter President and Biology Teacher, explains the specifics of selecting inductees: “The motto of the Society is Areté, Diké, Timé: Excellence, Justice, Honor. Areté includes the concept of excellence in the moral sense and is not limited to the ideal of superiority and scholarship, nor does it involve the endeavor of competing primarily for academic goals. Diké includes the concept of what is suitable and appropriate, as well as just. Timé includes the concept of dignity and truth, as well as honor. At St. Margaret’s, inductees possess all of these characteristics plus many more. To be considered for induction into the Cum Laude Society, seniors must rank in the top 20 percent of their class while juniors must rank in the top 10 percent. In addition to their GPA, the Cum Laude committee, which consists of faculty members and administrators from the Upper School, considers a student’s total approach to the academic process. The committee looks for students who have taken a rigorous course load that shows depth of study in several areas. These students are academic leaders, recognized as scholars by both their teachers and their peers. Cum Laude inductees are students who truly love learning and demonstrate this daily by delving deeply in their coursework, striving for perfection and setting a standard which others seek to attain.”

In the spirit of academic inquiry and leadership, Ms. Gabrielle McColgan, Associate Director of College Counseling, delivered a speech at the ceremony, indicating to students that opportunities can be found anywhere, and some lead down unexpected pathways. Her complete address is below.

Gabrielle G. McColgan, Associate Director of College Counseling

“I was briefly a Geology major. I am fascinated by tectonic activity, probably stemming back all the way to my first earthquake when I was seven years old. I love the concept of tidal centers, the fact that the Pacific Ocean is shrinking while the Atlantic is slowly growing due to underwater volcanoes in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge . . . fascinating. But I had no idea that this field of study existed until I was forced to take a science class by my college. It was a requirement that I was very, very unhappy about, needless to say. I was a straight-up history and music girl, someone who knew those were my fields when I was in high school, and I stayed on that path all the way through graduate school.

“But my favorite class in my six years of higher education was Geology & Geophysics: 140–The Atmosphere and the Ocean. I got a terrible grade, there were tests I barely passed, and without a curve I would have been sunk, but I remember that class with excitement and gratitude. I only pursued my Geology double major for three months, but this class was one of the academic highlights of my college career. And I found it because my college, in all its bureaucratic wisdom, made me look for it. They made me look beyond what I knew and was comfortable with to find something new and fairly exotic and develop an intellectual passion for a subject that I hadn’t even realized existed.

“High school so often seems to be about meeting requirements; and the idea of college as the place where you “finally get to take what you want” looms excitedly on the horizon. And in most ways, this is very true: the breadth of classes that will be offered to students is remarkable. Trying to find the official title of my Geology class in the online course catalog, I ran into courses such as: Science, Arms and the State; Chant and Liturgy in the Latin Middle Ages; and the Cognitive Science of Morality. Fantastic. Sign me up. However, what I am also supremely grateful for is the direction I was given because of my college requirements. Aside from my courses in World War II history and the music of Gershwin and Porter that I chose and ultimately majored in, my requirements forced me into English classes, Astronomy labs and Psychology – classes that became some of my favorites.

“So I’m arguing that it’s important to have a plan in school—whether you’re putting together your four-year high school plan with your advisor or following a course of study to work towards your major in Medieval Studies or Biochemistry in college. Have your plan—think about it, work towards it—but also plan to deviate. Even though I knew what I wanted in my education, the fact that I was forced to try something not in my original plan made my life richer and broadened my mind. The ability to move beyond the pressure of expectations and the desire for good grades and simply learn, because I was fascinated, is invigorating. It created space in my mind that I discovered was fillable with any number of exciting subjects.

“Every class I took helped me develop, not just into a Historian or a Musician, but into someone who loves to read and write and learn about the world around me. The volcanic eruption in Iceland captures my mind; I will wake up at 3 a.m. for meteor showers in the summer or to watch lunar eclipses; I am fascinated by the social psychology principles in my favorite television show, Law & Order. However humble, I live an intellectual life because the experiences of learning that I started in school and college have followed me and continue to engage my interest. I continue to combine what I have to learn with what I want to learn and it has given me a life happier than any I could have ever wished for.

“My best plans in life have continued to deviate. I am not the opera singer or lawyer I once saw myself as. Because I needed a work study job in graduate school, I became an admissions officer, which has led me to my profession as a college counselor: an occupation that I didn’t even realize existed when I was originally mapping out my life. How fortunate that I have found a career that I love so deeply.

“I was extremely lucky to find the perfect balance between what I wanted to do and what I needed to do. What was required of me managed to grab my attention in ways that were unexpected and highly appreciated. It leaves me with only a few regrets in life: first, that I didn’t take as many classes as I could have taken in school, and, second, that I sold back my first Geology text book. A gorgeous, hardcover book that had a huge, full-color drawing of the ocean floor in the center. I can still see it vividly in my mind and often check college bookstores when I’m on campuses to see if they happen to have that book in stock—so far, no luck.

“But these are regrets I can live with, because the gifts I received were even greater: when I took risks, I was rewarded, not just with meeting graduation requirements, but with ideas and knowledge that inspire me to engage in the physical and intellectual world around me. I am not afraid to take on things that seem too difficult to accomplish and it has allowed me to find a career in education, something that I never imagined might happen. In a way, the countless wonders I encounter every day here at St. Margaret’s, I owe to learning how to track air temperatures via a rapidly rising weather balloon in Geology Lab. And for that, I am forever grateful.

“Thank you for allowing me to speak today. It has been my honor and great privilege to be a part of the St. Margaret’s community.”

Congratulations to all the Cum Laude inductees.

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